5 Components of a Great Voicemail

By the Numbers

Whether you are seeking a job, selling something, buying a service, or building a relationship you are bound to be confronted at some point with the need to leave a voice mail message. Too often, voice mail messages left today perpetuate what is affectionately referred to as the very unproductive “phone tag”. It does not have to be that way. Instead of leaving a message that only requires one to have to call back many have learned five key elements that turn missed calls into productive events. These five elements, when used properly, will actually carry a conversation forward or eliminate the need for wasted follow-up calls.

Below are the five components of a great voice mail:


Always start your message by clearly giving your name (and company if applicable). Be sure to clearly enunciate by saying your first name, pausing for a moment, then your last name. Two rules apply here. First, never assume they will recognize you from your voice nor should you assume they know your last name when they hear your first name. The pause in the middle is to keep your first and last name from running together. Time the pause by saying the word “pause” in your head between the two names.

Your identity.

Remind the person you are calling of who you are. If applying for a job tell the listener you are an applicant for the specific position you are applying. The company may have multiple job openings and you cannot reasonably assume they will know which position you are seeking. If you are selling something make sure they know your company name. If you are trying to buy a service such as a plumber remind them of where you live. You get the idea. The key logic is just as the person may not recognize your voice they may not remember you by name.

Your phone number.

The thing to put in your quality message is your number. Phone numbers are often mentioned as a pet peeve during the customer service classes I teach, particularly because people tend to race through their number. Give your number slowly, but not too slow, and always mention your areas code.

Concise message.

Now is the time for the meat of your message. Leave a focused message with enough clearly spoken concise information for the recipient to know why you called, why they should call you back (if a call-back is important) and what you want them to do next. Brevity is essential so keep it to key points. Everybody listening to voice mail knows their delete key and they are not afraid to hit it if you ramble on, mumble, or make little business sense.

Name and number.

Yes, you have already given your name and number once, but do not assume they got it. Give it again so they will not have to replay your message. Include these five simple elements and your voice mail messages will reflect the quality of your professionalism.